Dalarna farm names - placed before the given name

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What are those strange "first names"?

One of the most confusing name types in Sweden is the prefixed farm names used in Dalarna (Kopparberg County), like Håman Olof Hansson. Why wasn't he Olof Hansson Håman, like a normal Swede?[1] And was Elin Hans Andersson a boy or a girl?[2]

  • Håman and Elin in these examples are gårdsnamn (farm names), serving as a sort of family name, but placed before the given name of the individuals.
  • These farm names will be found in most parishes in Dalarna.

It is understandable that people in Dalarna had a need for distinguishing names in addition to their given name and patronymic, since in this area of Sweden there seems to be an even smaller selection of given names in use than further south. You soon get too many persons of a similar age in the same parish - or even the same village - with the same name: Jon Olofsson, Olof Jonsson, Jon Jonsson, Olof Olofsson, Hans Olofsson, Hans Hansson and so on.

There were various types of bynames and nicknames used for distinction in old rural Sweden. Farm names as "family names" were common in some parts (Gotland and Skåne) - but nowhere but Dalarna was the farm name placed first. One would need a much deeper understanding of the local dialect and its history to understand how and why this came about. We know that Dalkarlar historically have valued their independence and originality highly: see the Dalecarlian rebellions under Gustav Vasa.

They don't fit well in databases

The prefixed farm names fit badly into the name fields of a database - not just WikiTree - the The Swedish Tax Agency and Swedish genealogy softwares also have problems with it.

Actually, the Authorities have had problems with farm names since long before computers. There are indications that these names were in use long before the clergy accepted them as appropriate for the church records[3][4] The pressure towards standardizing them into "proper" surnames was strong around the previous turn of century, when rules for surnames in Sweden were (at long last) formulated into laws - particularly for those who left their native area. It is only with the Name Law of 2016 that their use has been fully integrated.

What to do in WikiTree

Since a farm name (usually) is a name for the whole family in a certain farm, it would seem logical to place it last, as surnames are ordinarily placed. For Norway, where farm names are placed last, the Other Last Names field should be used.

This would also be the proper place for farm names from Gotland or Skåne - where farm names placed after given name and patronymic where used for identifying a person.

It's just that the people of Dalarna have defended their practice of putting the farm name first for so long and with so much obstinacy, that it would be insulting to their memory (and presentday name carriers) to cave in and put it in as a surname or Other Name. It is not apropriate to use the prefix field for this, so in order to "follow their conventions" as we have promised to do, we are left with the option of putting the farm name together with the given name in the First Name field.

  • we just have to put up with the validation warning about more than one name in this field, and click through
  • and when the next Suggestions Report has been run we probably will have a Unique Name warning to mark ar False Error.


The origins of farm names are various. Some have started as soldier names, some refer to an occupation or a characteristic, some are the given name of an individual, some derive from a combination of a given name and a patronymic. Some refer to another village in the parish, where a current farm owner was born. What they all have in common is that they linger on for generations after the person who first inspired the name.

Dalarna farm names found as "Unique names"

Found in the lists for DBE #511 and marked as False Error. A lot of others will have been hidden earlier. Checking and sourcing of these profiles is a work in progress.

  1. Boj Lars Larsson (1847-1929), Malung - married to the following.
    Retained his farm name although he moved south.
  2. Jöns Karin Larsdotter (1837-1920), Malung - married to the above.
    Appears as plain Karin Larsdotter when they moved south
  3. Gummu Nils Hansson (1618-1675), Mora
  4. Djos Erik Andersson (1837-1910), Mora - name also spelled Dios - married to the sister of the below
  5. Hemis Margit Larsdotter (1834-1902), Mora - married to the brother of the above
  6. Djus Lars Petersson (1860 - 1910), Älvdalen
  7. Skinnar Anders Andersson (1821-1883), Stora Skedvi - farm name based on a profession
  8. Elinos Olaf Andersson (1813-1892), Mora - name also spelled Elinås
  9. Holknekt Kerstin Mattsdotter (1810 - 1852), Mora - wife of the above
  10. Fir Herman Persson (1834-), Grangärde
  11. Hansjons Anders Hansson (1871-1958), Mora
  12. Hansjons Karl Bernhard Hansson (1887-1967), Mora, brother of the above
  13. Jannas Anna Pehrsdotter (1843-1915), Mockfjärd
  14. Larsols Anders Larsson (1835 - 1897), Mora - moved to Hedemora and did not bring his farm name
  15. By Anders Andersson (1874-1959) Mora, son of the above. Born in Larsols in Nusnäs, Mora, lived in Bya, Hedemora 1891-1920, came back to Nusnäs and got By as a new farm name
  16. Lisslars Karin Olsdotter (1863 - 1932) Äppelbo and Tyngsjö - did not bring her farm name
  17. Enkull Erik Larsson (1834 - 1908) Grangärde
  18. Bäckar Erik Ersson (1836 - 1877) Orsa
  19. Ollas Hans Olsson (1846 - 1890) Sätterlund, Rättvik
  20. Ollas Olaf Andersson (1819 - 1897) Rättvik
  21. Sjelf Anders Eriksson
  22. Sjelf Erik Jansson
  23. Stenis Anna Persdotter
  24. Thor Majt Olsdotter
  25. Skrymt Erik Nilsson
  26. Grudd Lars Matsson
  27. Grym Mats Persson
  28. Hållams Anders Jonsson
  29. Isaks Erik Olsson
  30. Jerpe Margit Persdotter
  31. Skrädder Marit Unknown
  32. Sporr Olof Olofsson
  33. Jugås Elin Jonsdotter
  34. Krång Elin Larsdotter
  35. Krång Jon Andersson
  36. Lassis Karin Olsdotter
  37. Levd Lars Larsson
  38. Mosså Karin Matsdotter
  39. Moroll Anders Knutsson
  40. Olofmats Karin Nilsdotter
  41. Påls-Karin Olsdotter
  42. Josefs Anders Karlsson
  43. Nissbel-Per "Gubb" Andersson
  44. Domp Kerstin Olsdotter - no source found for farm name


  1. In fact, his great-grandson, Hans Hansson, who worked as a bricklayer in Stockholm from 1886 to 1908, had his name converted to Hans Hansson Håman down in the big city.
  2. He was a boy, Hans Andersson, living in a farm still carrying the name of a matriarch named Elin a few generations earlier.
  3. Om gårds- och soldatnamn i Dalarna Olle Hansson and Karin Jegelius 2003 at jegelius.se
  4. The Farm Names of Dalarna by Elisabeth Thorsell at etgenealogy.se

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Rättvik people
Rättvik people

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Thanks SO much; searched and finally found this. - Truthful Kindness.

Categories: Swedish Names